The following media round up on international, legal and foreign policy issues from around the Balkans for the period from 28 April to 13 May 2021. The Guernica Group will provide bi-weekly media updates with a focus Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia . Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Ned Vucijak at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Kosovo – 28 April 2021
Some Kosovo war crime survivors have applied to join a scheme to allow victims to get involved in the trials at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, but others remain sceptical in fear of violent retribution if their identities were to be revealed.
Kosovo – 6 may 2021
The Head of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, Abelard Tahiri, called last week for the dismissal of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Donika Gervalla, because she was willing to provide evidence to the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague back in 2016. Gervalla denied that she has ever been a witness at the Specialist Chambers.
Montenegro – 6 May 2021
A public opinion survey suggested that a majority of Montenegrins believe their country is failing to address the war crimes of the 1990s and that the judiciary is incapable of dealing with war related cases.
Albania – 6 May 2021
Albania’s Constitutional Court annulled the need to request police permission to stage a protest, calling the obligation unconstitutional and ordering Parliament to revise the law code.
Serbia – 10 May 2021
The migrant-smuggling business in Western Balkan is worth at least 50 million euros a year, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime NGO said in a report last week. The criminal groups that operate the smuggling of migrants seem to be a mix of locals with a knowledge of the terrain and the movements of the police, as well as nationals of countries where the asylum seekers and migrants originate.
Kosovo – 11 May 2021
Kosovo’s Court of Appeals, in Pristina, confirmed the indictment of six people accused of being involved in the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb politician, who was killed in January 2018.
Amongst the accused are two police officers, Dragisa Markovic and Zarko Jovanovic, charged with evidence tampering.
North Macedonia – 11 May 2021
A report published by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture, CPT, raised concerns that police ill-treatment of suspects has resumed in North Macedonia and that the authorities have done far too little to address the longstanding flaws within the prison system. The report is based on a visit to North Macedonia in December 2019.
Montenegro – 11 May 2021
On Monday, Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic announced that changes will be made to the Prosecutor Appointment System, despite criticism from European experts. The changes being made would see Prosecutorial Council members being elected by the votes of 41 out of a total of 81 MPs in Parliament. The current law says that the Prosecutorial Council need the votes of a two-thirds majority or 54 MPs. This change has been criticised and said that it could increase political influence on the prosecution.
Bosnia and Herzegovina - 13 May 2021
The UN court in The Hague decided that former Bosnian Serb President, Radovan Karadžić, should be transferred to a prison in Britain. Karadžić’s defence has submitted a challenge to the decision claiming he could be a target for a potentially deadly attack by other prisoners.